(cross-posted on dGenerate Films)

Yang Heng’s Betelnut, winner of the Best First Feature at the Pusan Film Festival and the Critics’ Jury Prize at the Hong Kong Film Festival, will make its New York debut at the Asia Society as part of the series “China’s Past , Present and Future on Film.” You can use discount code asia725 to buy tickets at the $7 member rate. Tickets can be purchased at the Asia Society website or at the Asia Society box office.

Betelnut (Bing Lang)
YANG Heng. China. 2005. 112 min. Narrative. Digibeta.
Friday, March 26, 6:45 pm

Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

View a clip from the film below. Further details about the film can be found here, and after the break.


“Exquisite!” – Tony Rayns, Film Comment

“Pure cinema” – Susanna Harutyunyan, FIPRESCI – The International Federation of Film Critics

Along a sleepy Hunan riverside, two delinquent boys experience a summer of love and violence in Yang Heng’s visually stunning debut.

Ali and Xiao Yu are two teenage rebels idling away their days along the banks of a river in Jishou, a quiet town in Hunan province. They steal motorbikes, bully and rob kids, sing karaoke and get into fist fights outside the local internet bar. But their rough exterior belies a deeper romanticism, and a tenderness unfolds between them and their teenage loves. As one day bleeds into the next in this impoverished rural setting, it becomes apparent that these sun-baked days of misspent youth will be the wildest, freest time of their lives.

These everyday subjects are transformed by a groundbreaking digital cinematography unlike any other Chinese film. Alternating deep-focus with bold flatness, Yang explores spaces with a mastery that recalls both classical Chinese and modernist landscape painting. Filmed in a summery palette with images that give off an otherworldly glow, BETELNUT offers a one-of-a-kind vision of what it’s like to be young, poor and free in China. “Yang is a first-class visual stylist, and BETELNUT is far and away the most exciting debut film I’ve seen all year.” (Michael Sicinski, The University of Houston)